Daily Reflection – Dec 9, 2018
Sunday 9 December 2018
First Reading: BAR 5:1-9
The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
PS 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
Second Reading: PHIL 1:4-6, 8-11
Gospel Reading: LK 3:1-6
Today’s Note: Second Sunday of Advent
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,
when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea,
and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee,
and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region
of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene,
during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,
the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.
John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,
as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
God is leading Israel in joy. (Baruch 5:9)
When was the last time you saw Jesus in another person? Not just in a vague “I suppose so” way, but in a specific inspiring “Hey! I just felt the Lord!” way?
While it may not seem so at first, this is the kind of vision that Baruch gives his people in today’s first reading. Baruch is speaking to the people of Jerusalem—a people who have survived a devastating military assault and who are now living hand to mouth in their city of ruins. Most of their fellow Israelites were carted off to exile in Babylon, leaving behind them a dreary and war-torn landscape.
Seeing his people’s distress, Baruch gave them an unexpected message from God. Rather than telling them to look up and fix their eyes on the Lord, he directed their gaze out, where they would ultimately see their exiled brothers and sisters coming home in joyful procession. He promised that if they looked closely enough, they would see God’s presence in the midst of these returnees. They would see it for the miracle that it was, and that vision would fill them with joy.
What Baruch told the Israelites the Holy Spirit wants to tell you: If you want to see Jesus, don’t just look up to heaven. Look out at the people around you as well.
Try an experiment at Mass today. Every time you stand (for the Gospel Acclamation, the Creed, the Great Amen, and the Communion procession), look at the people standing with you. Tell yourself, “These are my brothers and sisters. Jesus has given them to me so that I could find him more easily. Each one of them reveals a different facet of God’s love and faithfulness.”
All these people surrounding you are precious to the Lord. Together with you, they make up the body of Christ. This means that Jesus is present in them, just as he is present in the Host and the chalice. So don’t just look up. Look out as well, and marvel that Jesus is coming to you in such a personal way.
“Lord, open my eyes to see you!”